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Illinois Tool Nails Quarter

Strength abroad helps offset U.S. weakness.
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Illinois Tool Works

(ITW) - Get Illinois Tool Works Inc. Report

posted a 10% rise in first-quarter net income, narrowly topping Wall Street's estimate, as growth overseas helped offset weakness in the U.S.

The toolmaker's earnings rose to $402.4 million, or 72 cents a share, from $366.5 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier. The results beat analysts' average estimate by a penny, according to Thomson Financial.

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Revenue rose 14% to $3.76 billion from $3.3 billion, exceeding Wall Street's forecast of $3.74 billion.

Base revenue, which excludes the effect of acquisitions, rose only 1%, pulled down by a 3.5% decline in North America, where a weak housing and auto market have hurt demand. International base revenue rose 8.9%.

"While a number of North American end markets continued to be challenging, our strong acquisition activity and expanding international presence were important contributors to our revenue and net income growth in the first quarter," said David B. Speer, chairman and chief executive.

For the second quarter, Illinois Tool Works forecast earnings of 86 cents to 90 cents a share, in line with analysts' projection of 89 cents.

The company reiterated its prior view for full-year earnings of $3.27 to $3.39 a share. Wall Street expects a 2007 profit of $3.34 a share.